A&E » Arts

Putting a positive spin on vinyl



Since its evolution in the ’80s, house, or electronic and computer- generated, music has become associated with rebellious youths, illegal after-hours clubs and drug-riddled raves. Even after it proved popular in main-stream nightclubs, house music was still frowned upon by traditional critics, and DJs given little recognition as artists. As much as those same critics had hoped house was just another musical fad, it has grown into its own industry.

Twenty years after its inception, fans of house music have new attitudes, and like two Whistler companies, new missions. Kryptonight Promotions and Trinity Productions were both spawned out of a need to provide the area with a competitive house scene. Like any other genre of music, variety and quality brings patrons into venues… and keeps them coming back. But unlike other promoters, Trinity and Kryptonight set higher goals for their companies, their clients and the customers they attract.

"We are not facilitating a place for people to come and do drugs. We’re facilitating a place for people to come together for the positive release of energy," explains Kryptonight partner Tyler Thesen.

The promotional company has been involved in such peaceful gatherings as Summer Solstice and Full Moon Parties and Ecofest in the Elaho. The outdoor events make a point of giving back to the community by sponsoring local charities, something he says is lost on others who organize similar events. Thesen points out the illegal party last summer where about 1,000 people wreaked havoc in the Calcheak area, south of Whistler. Not only was it poorly organized with little regard for the environment, with no bathroom facilities or garbage receptacles, it also showed a lack of concern for its patrons. Access roads were blocked by parked cars and when one women fell ill, it took authorities a lengthy time to reach her. Thesen was among the community volunteers who returned to the site the next day to help with the clean up.

"At our events, we are just respectful. Every single can, every single cigarette butt that’s dropped will be picked up," ensures Thesen. Kryptonight has kept communications open with Whistler authorities, and perhaps it is this positive attitude towards the environment and community that keeps Kryptonight events from being quashed by RCMP.

While Kryptonight is striving to give house-lovers an alternative to Whistler Village and the regular bar scene, Trinity Productions is looking to make that bar scene more than just regular.

"I provide an ‘environment’ for people to enjoy themselves in," says Trinity’s Leah Turner. Trinity has been bringing some big names into Whistler clubs. Monday night’s ESCAPE at the Savage Beagle is quickly becoming a locals’ favourite, not just for such DJs as Marcello and X-tra Large, but also for the friendly atmosphere and positive vibes.

"We would very much like to work with authorities and the community to control and maximize the positive attributes of our events," explains Turner. "Why not utilize the opportunity present at our gatherings and large events to reach young people? Direct awareness via our events is more likely to have an impact on youths than other informative efforts on such things as drugs, pregnancy, aids and violence."

Trinity intends to do so by handing out "dance cards," small cards that outline healthy choices and alternatives.

Trinity is also looking to fill the gap for the 23-35 year olds who love electronic music, but don’t enjoy raves or the younger club crowd.

"I’m in my late 20s, and there’s a niche for people my age that like this kind of music and just want to come out, have a few drinks and go home. That’s why I approached the Savage Beagle and Garfinkel’s. I was one of the first people to throw an electronic party in the Beagle. There was almost no music of that type before, and now there’s three nights a week dedicated to it," says Turner. (One of those nights happens to be Lucid Dreams, organized by Kryptonight).

Bar managers were skeptical of her first proposals. In fact, she had to make five personal visits before she was given the opportunity at The Beagle. But her persistence has paid off. Trinity’s nights now attract a consistent, mature clientele which equal high liquor sales and little hassle for the establishments.

"I started listening to this kind of music and going to raves in about ’94," recalls Turner. "Back then the music was quite new. But the people who were listening to it then are now a little older. These people are looking for a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy themselves in. It’s really just about the music now."

Thesen agrees, adding Kryptonight’s events draw a wide age range. The common thread between these peoples is not an exchange of drugs but a union of music. And in order to make that message just a clittle clearer, Trinity and Kryptonight may embark on a union of their own. The two companies are discussing throwing outdoor non-profit events together.

"Electronic music is global," concludes Turner. "It’s language is feeling and sound, understood by everyone no matter what race or culture."